"It’s daunting coming back to uni as a mature student. You think “can I cope? Am I past it?” But there is a lot of support on the course. I wasn’t past it. I shouldn’t have worried. My family also benefited as I was happy and my partner even said I had my mojo back!"

 

1. Why did you decide to retrain?

I was a cheesemonger at Morrison’s for 10 years when decided I wanted to do something that was rewarding and I remembered how good I felt when I was leading at Brownies. I loved customer-facing roles but it wasn’t me. I wanted to inspire the people who will help change the world.

2. Why did you choose to go into teaching?

I was inspired by many teachers throughout my education. My children have also had numerous teachers who have made that long-lasting impression on them. I knew I was good with children and decided I wanted to inspire future generations and give them that real passion for learning.

3. Why did you choose the School Direct route above the other routes into teacher training?

It was a hands-on approach. I would learn in the job, helping local children in Blackburn and it was a good balance for me and my family. It was also more local to me in relation to the campus, so less commuting.

4. As a career changer, how did you manage to balance study, family and work?

I have two children who are 10 and 6. There were a few late nights when it came to assignments but other than that I managed my time well, my family benefited as I was happy and my partner even said I had my mojo back! Online studying was good as it was when we weren’t in school and the hours meant some days I could even pick the children up from school. 

5. What was your biggest worry when you were making the decision to go back to uni? 

It’s daunting coming back to uni as a mature student. You think “can I cope? Am I past it?” But there is a lot of support on the course. The tutors, the peers, we all wanted the best for each other! I wasn’t past it. My life experience meant I brought with me other qualities and skills that I had learnt from my previous job and from being a mum and they made me a brilliant teacher! I shouldn’t have worried. Everybody’s journey is different too.

6. Why did you choose the University of Cumbria?

It is a reputable university. I have friends who studied here and they recommended it. Cumbria was also offering the course locally in Blackburn via School Direct, which suited me and my family.

 

I have had a lovely experience despite the pandemic! Online learning with Mike Toyn, one of Cumbria’s lecturers, has also been a five-star experience. He has been fabulous online and made my experience seamless, fun and engaging. Tutors were always there to help after lectures and replied to emails accordingly.

7. What did you love the most about your course?

No day is the same. I love every day of the week. It’s fun, challenging but so rewarding! I look forward to going into school, seeing those light bulb moments and smiles. My course is so rewarding and it’s so fulfilling!

8. How was your placement different during the pandemic?

Despite the pandemic, we have not been compromised really when compared to many other courses out there who were doing the same or similar programmes.

Cumbria has an amazing online platform called Blackboard. It’s really easy to use. I have had a lovely experience despite the pandemic! Online learning with Mike Toyn, one of Cumbria’s lecturers, has also been a five-star experience. He has been fabulous online and made my experience seamless, fun and engaging. Tutors were always there to help after lectures too and replied to emails accordingly.

9. How did lockdown affect your placement?

We didn’t have much of a second placement but when we did go into a different key stage it was intense and you got a lot from it. We still had lectures online and they were brilliant! Engaging, fun and we gained lots of knowledge from our tutor.  Lockdown made us think more and act more in a situation that was unfamiliar for many teachers but we did it and we succeeded.

10. How was it returning to school after lockdowns? Did you notice anything different in the children?

 

The children needed more support emotionally and they had gaps in their knowledge, but we are rebuilding that. We worked closely with our mentors to ensure we tailored our planning to the needs of each child. I have also run an eco-club with some of the children as it gives them chance to talk and have fun!

11. What are the 3 things you wish you knew before you started your placements in a school?

  • Everything will be ok… stop worrying!
  • You need a diary, lots going on!
  • Comfy shoes, you don’t sit down!!

12. What top tips would you give to career changers looking to do the same course as you?

  • Be prepared to involve yourself in every aspect of the job!
  • Keep up to date with the national curriculum.
  • Do as much reading to hit the ground running in September!

13. What are your plans after graduation?

I landed a job back in April, before I had even finished the course, in an outstanding academy school in Blackburn. I will be teaching Reception children and I'm very excited to start my career as an NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher).

Want to change career and become a teacher?

We've got you. Contact us today by calling 0845 606 1144 or emailing enquirycentre@cumbria.ac.uk.

You can also visit our Teacher Training page and explore our courses here:

Teaching Courses

Primary Education with QTS: General Primary (5-11) years

PGCE General Primary with QTS will help you gain the knowledge and skills needed to be an effective primary school teacher, develop as an independent learner, and nurture the beliefs, values and self-motivation that you will need throughout your career.

Find Out More Book An Open Day
Edit Page
Chat to a student on The Access Platform